Lt. Col. Flick

Lieutenant Colonel Charles Flick
1/7th Bn., Essex Regiment & 1/6th Bn., Devonshire Regiment

Dear Kate,— I must write you a few lines to say how much I regret my conduct towards you last evening. I can only say in my defence that a serious money loss made me ill-tempered and impatient. I hope I have not hurt you very much. Write and say you forgive me, and when you will meet me again. —Charlie

 (Illustrated Police News, 18 June 1898, 10)

In June 1898, London tailor Daniel O’Sullivan sued Lieutenant Charles Leonard Flick of the Honourable Artillery Company “for damages for the seduction of his twenty-five-year-old daughter, Kate,” with whom Flick had had an illegitimate daughter. The above letter was entered into the court record by the plaintiff’s counsel. As a result of pregnancy and alledged assault, Kate O’Sullivan had been unable to assist her father’s tailoring work. The jury found in favour of the plaintiff for £150.

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Lt. Col. Goodday

Lieutenant Colonel C. Goodday
Lord Strathcona’s Horse

The Regiment saddled up & “stood to” ready if needed to assist in or take advantage of a counter attack being delivered on the eastern side of the river. At 8 pm orders were given to oft-saddle and rest for the night. Major C. Goodday having rejoined from leave took over the command of the Regt.

(LdSH war diary, 31 March 1918)

Born in London, England on 25 October 1880, Claud Goodday was a British Columbia cricket player and self-styled gentleman. He had been commissioned as a lieutenant and adjutant with the Fort Garry Horse in 1913 and went overseas with Lord Strathcona’s Horse in October 1914. He swiftly rose through the officer ranks and was a major by August 1916. He temporarily assumed command after Lieutenant Colonel D.J. MacDonald was wounded on 30 March 1918

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The Golfer

Lieutenant Colonel A.E. Griffin, D.S.O.
5th Battalion, Canadian Railway Troops

His hobby is golf. In it he finds physical exercise and mental relaxation from the enterprises, some of which have been the most important railway construction jobs in the British Columbia mountains.

(Vancouver Sun, 16 Jan 1921, 11)

Born in Ontario on 17 September 1877, Atholl Edwin Griffin was a Vancouver civil engineer and contractor in the firm of Jack Stewart. In November 1916, he was commissioned in Stewart’s Canadian Railway Troops and given command of the 5th C.R.T. For two years service in France carrying out important construction operations, he received the Distinguished Service Order. The experience, however, wore down his health and required rest leave. particularly spring 1918 following the German offensive.

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Lt. Col. Pragnell

Lieutenant Colonel G.S. Pragnell, D.S.O
1st Reserve Battalion

This officer does not complain of feeling of exhaustion he had when last boarded. He has been playing golf and can do 18 holes without feeling over tired. Has no feeling of nervousness as complained of in last board.

  (Proceedings of a Medical Board, 12 Feb 1918)

Born on 22 November 1880 in Hythe, England, George Seabrook Thomas Pragnell was a British Army officer and Boer War veteran who immigrated to Kamloops, British Columbia in 1908. He joined the 31st B.C. Horse under fellow British officer Lieutenant Colonel Charles Flick. Pragnall joined the 5th Battalion as a major when it deployed to France. In the confusion of the Second Battle of Ypres, he was mistakenly reported killed in action.

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The Veteran Advocate

Lieutenant Colonel W.K. Walker, D.S.O., M.C.
1st Motor Machine Gun Brigade

I am not opposed to the Vimy Ridge Memorial and plan to be present at the unveiling in July … I am, however, opposed to extravagant war memorials. Particularly when so many of our fine men, who gave their all in the war, are still in need. Anyway, these war memorials will probably only be destroyed in the next war.

(Lt. Col. W.K. Walker, Ottawa Citizen, 11 April 1936, 16)

Born in Cleator Moor, England on 12 July 1888, William Keating Walker was a Church of England missionary living in British Columbia. On the outbreak of the war, despite having no  active military service, he first joined Elliott’s Horse, a small privately raised unit of veteran soldiers. Although many volunteers intended to join their old British regiments on arrival to England, Walker vowed, “I was a Canadian by adoption; a Canadian I would remain, and as a Canadian I would fight.” He was commissioned with the Royal Canadian Dragoons in November 1914. 

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Lt. Col. Macdonald

Lieutenant Colonel J.B.L. Macdonald, D.S.O.
3rd Canadian Railway Troops


This being dominion day and the fiftieth anniversary of Confederation the personnel of this observed a holiday so far as was possible.

(3rd CRT, war diary, 1 July 1917)

Born in Invernessshire, Scotland on 22 July 1867, James Brodie Lauder Macdonald was second-in-command of the 239th Battalion under Vancouver railway tycoon Colonel Jack Stewart. Prior to the war, Macdonald had been a railway contractor in one of Stewart’s firms and member of the 72nd Seaforth Highlanders. He appears to have lowered his age five years on enlistment.

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The Boer Veteran

Lieutenant Colonel W.H. Moodie
9th Canadian Railway Troops

Then the agony began. There we lay in fatal range, many had been killed outright in the charge, and all who had not good cover were in fearful danger and the groans from different points all over the field told too plainly how they were picking off our men. Those of us who had good cover had to stick to it though it was fearful to be there and listen to the calls of the wounded for help.

(W.H. Moodie letter, 13 Dec 1899)

Born in Quebec City on 22 September 1871, Walter Hill Moodie was a British Columbia civil engineer and Boer War veteran. He volunteered with the Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry and arrived to South Africa in December 1899. In letters home to Kelso, British Columbia he recounted his journey and remarked on his and comrades’ frustration “kicking our heels impatiently for our first engagement.” Two months later he experienced the full agony of modern warfare on Blood Sunday, 18 February 1900.

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Lt. Col. McMordie

Lieutenant Colonel S.P. McMordie
13th Canadian Railway Troops

His real desire I am sure would be to land in the frontline trenches; however, his age and loss of an eye undoubtedly bars him from that objective. On learning from the press that there were many escapes from internment camps, and that two officers in charge of these camps had been suspended, it occurred to me you needed a tough guy and the Colonel was your man.

(G.W. Nickerson to secretary, Minister of National Defence, 19 May 1941)

Stewart Percival McMordie was born on 15 November 1877 and worked in Prince Rupert, British Columbia, as a contractor. He enlisted in the 48th Battalion in August 1915 and went overseas as a major. Following an instructional tour of the front, he re-joined the 48th which was re-designated 3rd Canadian Pioneers. On 13 June 1916, McMordie was badly wounded by a high explosive shell. A steel splinter resulted in the loss of his right eye.

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The Chronicler

Lieutenant Colonel G.C. Johnston
2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles

I had the honour of a visit from General Currie, one I did not at all appreciate, as he at once proceeded to reduce me to a nervous wreck by putting me through a whole catechism of questions as to where I was to go, and what I would do with my company in the event of the Huns breaking through the front line. At this point, when I was thoroughly uncomfortable, the Bosche commenced to shell the hill and some shrapnel, coming through the roof, wounded one of our batmen, Hawkins, broke a window and ended the interview, much to my relief.

(G. Chalmers Johnston, 2nd CMR in France and Flanders, 18)

George Chalmers Johnston was born in London, England on 21 April 1874. A general agent in British Columbia with the 30th B.C. Horse, Johnston enlisted as a captain with Lieutenant Colonel J.C.L. Bott’s 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles. After their first tour of duty in the trenches in October 1915, Johnston described the soldiers, “Weary, unshaven and plastered with mud as they were, they looked a very different lotbut in those few days in the line, green troops as they were, they had found themselves and laid the foundation for the traditions and success in action which have made the reputation of the battalion second to none in the war.” Continue reading

Lt. Col. G.H. Kirkpatrick

Lieutenant Colonel G.H. Kirkpatrick
11th Canadian Mounted Rifles & 72nd Battalion

The outstanding fearlessness of the new C.O., Lieut-Col. G. H. Kirkpatrick, D.S.O., also calls for special notice. This was the first occasion on which he had complete command of the Battalion in an action, and his courage and coolness were an inspiration to all ranks.

(History of the 72nd Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders of Canada, 1920, 150)

Guy Hamilton Kirkpatrick succeeded Lieutenant Colonel J. A. Clark in command of the 72nd Battalion on 5 September 1918. Born on 5 November 1875 in Kingston, Ontario, he graduated from the Royal Military College in 1896 and fought in South Africa with Lord Strathcona’s Horse. His father, Sir George Airey Kirkpatrick (1841—1899), had been a Conservative MP and Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.

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